AerospaceFan
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Don't Be Stupid

Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:44 pm

At some point, the active, involved "consumer" of news must actually process the information that he receives. In the last thirty years, the informed listener, viewer, and reader of news has been flooded with, at first, written and video media whose tradition of yellow journalism has in some ways only moved toward anti-govermentalism, and, lately, radio media that simply amplifies the outrage of populist hosts.

At what point -- if any -- is it the responsibility of college professors of political science to say to their charges: "Don't be stupid"?

My view: I don't think that the idea of critical thinking has died, nor that college professors have abdicated their responsibility to teach the importance of penetrating the nonsense that popular culture encourages. Any professor worth his salt realizes that neither the left nor the right has all the answers, and this is pretty much a given.

But the idea that college professors are uniformly, or nearly universally, liberal, has made its way into talk radio, and has portrayed our academic culture as one of stultified, idiotic monomania centered upon liberalism.

In reality, though academia in the social sciences skews toward progressive causes, the fact is that those who succeed see both the left and right, and account for the strengths and weaknesses of both.

So, to Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken alike, I say: Dudes, for a change, it's time for you to listen. Dear Rush, and dear Al: Don't take us for chumps, and dudes -- don't be stupid.
What's fair is fair.
 
ArmitageShanks
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:53 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
But the idea that college professors are uniformly, or nearly universally, liberal,

But most college professors are liberal.
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:00 am

Quoting ArmitageShanks (Reply 1):
But most college professors are liberal.

Perhaps most social science college professors are, but I think that that may be a separate issue.
What's fair is fair.
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Tue Mar 28, 2006 3:06 pm

I started this thread a week ago, but the cautionary admonition in the title of this thread applies with equal force today, and this time, to the debates between pro- and anti-illegal forces on talk radio, and, perhaps in time, on college campuses, as well.

There is an additional factor that perhaps hasn't been emphasized, however, that should: The element of result. It seems to me that it is precisely because of the endless debates that are generated in modern life that few things get done.

Think of the efforts to rebuild on New York's World Trade Center site, for example. Four years after the fact, and the Port Authority and the site's lessee are embroiled in a possibly terminal controversy. Beyond that, the families of 9/11 victims are now determined to press forward for a redesign of the WTC's memorial. Thus, the buildings that are contemplated remain unbuilt.

Here in California, an important toll road going through sensitive lands in Orange County is being delayed at the last minute through two separate lawsuits filed by the Attorney-General, claiming an insufficiency of study on viable alternatives and an imposition, however small, upon sacred Native lands. Every day of delay costs the taxpayer millions of dollars, and the roads become more congested in the meantime.

As a society, we may be becoming paralyzed by not only rhetoric, but also a critical inability to make decisions based on sound, logical reasoning.

The bold and assertive outlook that built our continental empire is no longer the norm, and taking its place is an empire only of words.

[Edited 2006-03-28 07:10:25]
What's fair is fair.
 
jafa39
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:22 pm

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 3):
The bold and assertive outlook that built our continental empire is no longer the norm

That in itself is part of the problem, every part of every empire is built on blood and thievery, guilt will always haunt these lands and those who think that money and growth is more important than preserving the last vestiges of dignity and possession of the idigenous peoples should be taken out and given the hard word.

NZ is at least making an effort to put right some of the wrongs (Maori gave half the Auckland Isthmus to Governor Hobson back in the day, he thanked them by stealing the rest of it off them).

Govts cause all the bad shit in the world and now they can't hack the back-lash!

Sod the lot of them! that simpering ninny Blair has dared to show his face in NZ and been made to feel unwelcome, Bush would be too, true we're not perfect but don't go whingeing on about how unfair it is that govts can't just go around railroading the people they are elected to support, the world is changing, people are better informed and able to say "No".
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:05 am

Quoting Jafa39 (Reply 4):

That in itself is part of the problem, every part of every empire is built on blood and thievery, guilt will always haunt these lands and those who think that money and growth is more important than preserving the last vestiges of dignity and possession of the idigenous peoples should be taken out and given the hard word.

But there is a good side of this assertiveness, as well. There would not be a United States had there not been a Lewis and Clark, nor a desire to explore, come what may.

I do not deny the harm caused to indigenous peoples. And yet, if mankind had always been satisfied with what merely was, and failed to do and to make (in the Weberian sense), rather than to accept or to argue, then we would all still be lighting fires in the dark beside our caves, huddled together for safety against the saber-toothed tiger.

America doesn't exist simply to debate, or to set up straw men that the opposing side can destroy. America exists, in part, so that the future can be better than today. All that argument and polarization allows is for opposing sides to feel good about their opposition. And in the meantime, nothing is done. The replacement for the WTC in New York remains unbuilt. Our disagreements rule the day.

This perpetual, artificial conflict is good for nothing, except, perhaps, the talkmeisters and polemicists who are made to feel powerful for the setting of the same old, and decrepit, agenda: Talk, debate, and, ultimately, intellectual sterility.
What's fair is fair.
 
redngold
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:29 am

One of the worst acts of stupidity that I see today is the assumption that, if a person doesn't agree with you, that they haven't researched and evaluated information on that particular topic. Calling your opponent "ignorant" is a cop-out based on a wild generalization.
Up, up and away!
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:37 am

Quoting Redngold (Reply 6):
One of the worst acts of stupidity that I see today is the assumption that, if a person doesn't agree with you, that they haven't researched and evaluated information on that particular topic. Calling your opponent "ignorant" is a cop-out based on a wild generalization.

I agree. I think that most people who argue a position, particularly if they do so with rationality, do so out of some form of proof. Whether that proof stands up to scrutiny is important to consider. But to say that one's opponent is ignorant without accounting for the grounds for their reasoning is, as you say, all too easy.
What's fair is fair.
 
saxdiva
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:05 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
But the idea that college professors are uniformly, or nearly universally, liberal, has made its way into talk radio, and has portrayed our academic culture as one of stultified, idiotic monomania centered upon liberalism.

In reality, though academia in the social sciences skews toward progressive causes, the fact is that those who succeed see both the left and right, and account for the strengths and weaknesses of both.

So, to Rush Limbaugh and Al Franken alike, I say: Dudes, for a change, it's time for you to listen. Dear Rush, and dear Al: Don't take us for chumps, and dudes -- don't be stupid.

I think you've hit on a critically important topic here, and it's one that I don't see very many people talking about. You and I are in about the same age group (I wasn't old enough to be aware of the political environment during the Vietnam era), and I don't know if I ever recall society being as polarized as it is right now. I have to shake my head in disbelief when I hear the usual line about the "liberal" media... huh? Here in Los Angeles, the English-language radio dial seems to be especially dominated by conservative media and talk radio. While I'd freely acknowledge that the social sciences in education are rife with liberals (and I'd guess it's because those fields tend to attract people who are more liberally-inclined to begin with), I don't know if anyone can make the same claim for the hard sciences, or engineering, or business, which is the area I teach in.

By now I'd imagine I've heard just about all the rhetoric that each side has in its stockpile, and the fact that little of it represents the views of a wide range of centrist Americans is what, I suspect, is causing people to either adopt the position of what they see the lesser of the evils, or check out of the political process altogether. They might vote, but they're not active in ways that will help get other centrists into offices where they can accomplish anything. So we march on... and as the political dialogue becomes increasingly divisive and those at the poles scream louder and louder, the mainstream gradually loses its voice altogether. For the first time in my life, I am beginning to grow uneasy about our political and intellectual future.

Because of all this, I have to regularly remind myself that I can only do my part in trying to get people to think. None of this helped by a student population that seems to avoid that at almost every opportunity, but I do my damndest to remind people that yes, it's okay to be successful, but it is also our responsibility as business leaders to think about the consequences of our actions. That's why I do a section on ethics in EVERY class I teach, and it's also why, during these segments, I remind students that every rhetorical position has its flaws, and there isn't much we hear or read that be taken at face value. It's an uphill battle, but I suppose it's become a calling for me now.

Thanks for raising this topic,
Leanne
 
AerospaceFan
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:08 am

^^Thank you for your kind comments. Reading your message and noting the rationality of your arguments, I see that I am in good company!
What's fair is fair.
 
maury
Posts: 526
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Thu Mar 30, 2006 5:10 am

..the more the people at the poles yell, the fewer people go to the polls.

Quoting Saxdiva (Reply 8):
It's an uphill battle, but I suppose it's become a calling for me now.

Yay Saxdiva!  Smile
 
lehpron
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:19 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Thread starter):
At some point, the active, involved "consumer" of news must actually process the information that he receives

Are you implying females are not active or involved? Big grin
The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
 
jafa39
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RE: Don't Be Stupid

Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:25 am

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 5):
there is a good side of this assertiveness, as well. There would not be a United States

I'm sorry but I can't support that statement, I think all that assertiveness has got out of control. The US seems to me to be entirely about money being assertive, if anyone wants to assert something else, like culture or heritage or maybe even the opinions of ordinary folk they are regaled as nay-sayers and taunted, harrassed and generally abused.

The assertive ones slate Liberals for appearing to care about issues other than profit. It isn't a case of the biggest, richest bully being right because he can afford the most muscle and leverage.


Maybe we would have been better to stay in our caves....
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....

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